And last Saturday, Quebec MP Pierre Nantel declared that Singh and his “conspicuous religious symbols” would not fly with Quebec voters.“It has been shown that people do not want to see conspicuous religious symbols; they are not believed to be compatible with power, with authority,” Nantel told Radio-Canada.“It must be understood that for French-Canadian Quebecers, the combination of their majority status in Québec and their minority status in Canada and North America is not easy,” the scholars wrote in their 2008 report.“It is a difficult apprenticeship that began in the 1960s and, which, obviously, is ongoing.” Nearly a decade later, there is still no end in sight.In 2011, four kirpan-wearing members of the World Sikh Organization scheduled to testify before a legislative committee were barred from entering the National Assembly, and the PQ’s charter of values included turbans among the religious symbols it wanted to prohibit public servants from wearing.When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named four Sikhs, including two who wear turbans, to his federal cabinet in 2015, it was widely interpreted as a reflection of Canadian diversity.But it did not take long after Jagmeet Singh, an Ontario MPP, entered the NDP leadership race for whispers to be heard that he faced an uphill battle in Quebec because of his religious headwear.Writing in L’actualité in May, longtime NDP strategist Karl Bélanger predicted Singh would inevitably face questions “concerning his Sikh faith and its impact on his policies. Anyone aware of the history of Quebec, its commitment to secularism flowing from the Grande Noirceur (when Maurice Duplessis governed the province), also understands the complexity of the question.”By July, NDP sources were telling Le Devoir that Singh would damage the party’s chances in Quebec.
In fact, it was a Sikh boy who inadvertently helped launch the reasonable accommodation debate when his attempt to wear to school a kirpan, a small ceremonial Sikh dagger, went to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Part of the hostility toward religious symbols is certainly a holdover from the days of Duplessis when the Catholic Church held sway over the province — although oddly, the crucifix hanging behind the speaker’s chair in the National Assembly has managed to survive.
The problem is that in today’s Quebec, it is largely practitioners of minority religions — Islam, Judaism, Sikhism — who consider so-called conspicuous symbols central to their faith.
Khalifa, who bills herself as The DC Sports Girl on her Twitter bio, reached out to the pro wideout calling him her "new favorite follow on Twitter" after Smith-Schuster's bicycle was stolen.
(Smith-Schuster commutes to the Steelers' practice facility on the bike; it was later found.) The tweet itself was innocent enough, but Smith-Schuster, clearly well aware of Khalfia's past handiwork, wasn't there for it.